Welcome to Gypsy Wednesday! Every Wednesday, I strive to highlight all the juicy morsels related travel and beyond.
Does it count that I feel 28? Cause I do. When I plunged into The Lost Girls memoir, I danced with fear that rock music and young upstarts are beyond me now. It’s prune juice and a decent chiropractor all the way for this pup.
I was proved wrong when peeling back that first page, hearing the spine crack with anticipation. Holly Corbett, Amanda Pressner and Jennifer Baggett left their high octane media jobs in 2006 to lose themselves in the world map.
Their whirlwind trip was documented in a popular blog that won the 2007 Travvies for “Best Group Written Travel Blog”. Upon returning to the States, the girls had gathered not only fans, but a sense of themselves, and a new set of ideas on how to live life to the fullest. To this day, The Lost Girls website continues to inspire young men and women everywhere.
The similarities to my journey are hard to ignore. And the 28 bit? The essence of the book could be compared to Chiron mythology. Chiron is a planet thought to be positioned between Saturn and Uranus – a bridge to temper obsidian Saturn and chaotic Uranus. Chiron’s influence is so complete, so erratic – extending to a person’s spiritual, physical and intellectual make-up, the idea of “meaning” ties in directly to the birth chart.
A Chiron quest to find a sense of purpose or attach meaning to our lives spans lengthy generational periods that can begin as early as age 5, as late as 28. While I’m pitched far afield from 28, somehow my mission to alter the chemical compounds of my life brings me to that point of no return. There are questions, and losing myself will force me to grow further than imagined. Just as it did for Holly, Amanda and Jennifer.
I’ll let the girls convey the rest.
Q: What does it mean to be a Lost Girl?
A: Being a Lost Girl means embracing uncertainty, and using that restlessness and curiosity to go out and explore both yourself and the world around you. A Lost Girl knows that fear is a normal human emotion, but she doesn’t run from it. If you’re a Lost Girl, you don’t let fear to hold you back from going after your dreams, and you continue to push yourself to keep imaging and dreaming bigger.
Q: I most identify with Amanda when she wrote, “I want my life to look a whole lot different than it had the year before I left.” So, did it change for the 3 of you? And how did it change from who you were in New York?
A: Yes, the trip definitely changed us, but it didn’t yield an instant, shout-from-the-rooftops epiphany. Rather, the changes happened subtly, revealing themselves most when we returned to our “normal” New York City lives. Once back in our familiar city, the three of us all realized our priorities had shifted, and we began to spend more of our time doing things that are in much more in line with our most important priorities.
It may sound silly, but we now know that spending a Saturday inside the office isn’t going to bring us closer the lives we’ve dreamed of for ourselves. So we’ve created clearer boundaries between work and play. We started to place time with our friends and our family on top of our to-do list rather than reserving that space mainly for our careers. Travel reminded us just how lucky we are to be in a position where we can use our time to give back, and so we’ve all made more time for volunteering. We no longer define ourselves mainly by our jobs, but by our closest relationships and how much we live out our passions. Amanda started taking photography classes, Jen made more time to watch movies since film is one of her great loves, and Holly did something she’d always dreamed of—training and competing in triathlons.
Q: Why choose travel as the metaphor to wake up to life?
A: Travel is like being a child again in the world—you’re surrounded by different languages, culture, food, architecture. Everything is new again and your senses are heightened and that makes you feel more alive. And sometimes getting out of your comfort zone and changing your scenery is the best way to get a better perspective on your life.
Q: Please recount a memorable moment on the road.
A: There were so many memorable moments on the road, but if I had to pick one I’d say hiking to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in the Andes. Peru was our first country, and the four-day hike and camping outside was a really good bonding experience for us. We spent our days immersed in nature after years of sitting inside cubicles, following this very spiritual path that the ancient Incas had taken. And when we finally made it to the Lost City, it was our first real on-the-road accomplishment as a team. Well, besides getting on the road in the first place!
A: Compromise, compromise, compromise. You have to learn to put the group’s needs above your own wants most of the time to keep the peace. But you learn so much about yourself from traveling with other people who see you at your best and at your worst and stick with you through it all. Also, talk to your travel partners about how much alone time you tend to need before you get on the road, and then allow everyone the freedom to spend time by themselves without resentment.
Q: I loved Holly’s sentiment about having faith, trusting that somehow you’ll end up on the right path with the right people. How do you maintain that in post-travel life?
A: The bottom line is that we all need other people, and nothing great was ever achieved alone. So, we can choose to look for the worst in others, or choose to seek out the positive. Whether we’re in an exotic location or wandering around our hometown, we always try to assume people have good intentions until they prove otherwise. And that assumption proves right far more often than it proves wrong!
Q: What words of encouragement do you give wannabe Lost Boys or Girls?
A: Dream big! Don’t let fear hold you back from doing what you know in your heart is that thing you’re passionate about, whether that’s taking a big trip or breaking free from a dead-end relationship or starting your own business. If you see it, you can be it!
Share the adventure of a life-time with The Lost Girls. A chance to have this heartfelt memoir in your hands is here! Tell me in the comments section how you bring meaning to your travels. Do you keep a journal? Share via a blog? Engage the locals? Best answer takes home a copy of the book. Courtesy of HarperCollins.